Franklin County was established on January 2, 1818 and formed from parts of Gallatin and White Counties. It was named for Benjamin Franklin.[3]

The first settlers arrived in Franklin County in 1804. This group included six brothers named Jordan. They settled in the southeastern corner of the county, near today's Thompsonville. For shelter, they first built a pole shed, covered with brush, chinked with mud, thatched with a grass roof, and open to the south. A fire was kept burning outside the south face. This was replaced by a log cabin before winter arrived. This was known as the Jordan settlement.[citation needed]

In the winter of 1809, during Tecumseh's War, the threat of attacks by hostile Indians became real. Governor Edwards urged the building forts for defense. Frank Jordan built two forts. The one at the settlement was called "Jordan's Fort", while the second was several miles to the west and was known as "Frank's Fort". This eventually became the town of West Frankfort.[citation needed]